Milford resident Cindy Canevari is the Delaware State Lead Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). In this volunteer role, Canevari travels throughout the state to speak with elected officials about the importance of keeping cancer a national, state and local priority. This year she has been busy advocating for protections for minors regarding tanning beds and electronic cigarettes in the State of Delaware and for a broader definition of palliative care at the federal level.
Canevari, a survivor of both breast cancer and bladder cancer, has been Delaware’s State Lead Ambassador for four years, challenging state and federal legislators to keep cancer research as a priority. In the state of Delaware, Cindy was active in helping to pass the Oral Chemotherapy Parity Bill which legislates that patients using either a pill or infused form of treatment will pay the lesser use. She is now working to ban tanning bed and electronic cigarette use in Delaware for any individual under 18, which she hopes will be passed into law next year.
Currently in the Delaware Senate, Bill 94 adds to the UV tanning bed restrictions by banning all minors from using UV tanning devices in tanning facilities. It also mandates the posting of warning signs and statements in tanning facilities. Canevari points out that according to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the incidence of melanoma in the United States is increasing rapidly in children and young adults and that Melanoma is now the second most common form of cancer for individuals aged 15-29 years and the most common form of cancer for young adults aged 25-29 years.
“Exposure to UV radiation, which can be caused by natural sunlight and tanning beds, is the primary risk factor for skin cancer,” commented Canevari. “Senate Bill 94 is most important because these minors are still developing, when you are over eighteen you can make decisions about what risks you want to take.”
An advocate for Delaware House Bill 309, which adds electronic cigarettes to Delaware’s Clean Air Act, Canevari supports the prohibition of the devices in any public place.With the signing of House Bill 241 by Governor Jack Markell on Thursday, June 12, it is now illegal to sell electronic cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18.
“We do not know enough about [electronic cigarettes] or what is in them, we need to do a lot more research,” said Canevari. “We know so much more now than we did when I was a kid about what chemicals are in cigarettes and I think we need to do more research on these E-cigarettes to protect those that do not know.”
On a national level, Canevari is fighting to maintain and increase funding for cancer research through the National Institute for Health and the National Cancer Institute. Through ACS CAN, she supports three bills focused on changing the definition of palliative care for patients with serious illness. These bill will enact that treatment will be covered for patients at any age and at any stage of cancer. Previously, the organization pushed for access to quality, affordable health care and to ban pre-existing conditions and exclusions and to eliminate lifetime caps. Canevari takes her position as a liaison between local, state and federal entities seriously and is thankful that she has the opportunity to educate both sides on what is happening on the front lines in the battle against cancer.
“I am honored to put a face to and represent anyone with cancer and bring their issues to our representatives,” stated Canevari. “If I can help just one person, I have fulfilled my purpose.”